Summer. Took a long time to arrive. The extremely hot period stayed around far too long, (not necessarily the opinion of us all), and now we’re back with almost typical British weather: sun and rain, neither too hot nor too cold. The sun made planning our own trips a lot easier, as we could almost guarantee it would be a ‘nice’ day. I’ve visited quite a few NT properties this year, some for the first time. In particular Wightwick Manor, near Wolverhampton. What a lovely Arts & Crafts house this is with more of William Morris’s decorations than even Red House and Kelmscott! Not really somewhere I would like to live, although that applies to quite a few NT houses, but really is heart warming to appreciate all of the design and craftsmanship that we seem to have lost in these modern times. Wightwick is a must see if you are in the area. 

    At the moment this is my favourite NT House, which got me to thinking that we probably all have our favourites for various reasons and it would be interesting to compile a list of all of your favourites. Actually, my choices do change and are dependent on different factors. For example: a nice place to visit in the winter would be Anglesey Abbey; spring might be Stourhead; high summer Hidcote; autumn there are too many to choose from. And that’s only the gardens. With houses where does one start. So, what I am suggesting is that you get in touch with me to tell of your Special NT Place, and also why. Maybe it brings back happy memories, or there is something specific about it that chimes with you. Please let me know by email,, or give me a note at one of the meetings. With your permission I would like to include them in a future newsletter. Anonymous if you prefer.  

    This could even help with planning our future outings. Now there’s an idea. Where would you like to go for a day out, on a coach, relaxing instead of getting frustrated in traffic. Doesn’t have to be NT, but anywhere that might be a choice of yours could very well be of interest to others. After all, we have common interests including: houses; gardens; history; art; literature; people.  

    Moving on now to our autumn and winter lectures – Faith has organised some cracking speakers for us to enjoy. What a variety: journalism at its finest with Bill Hamilton; a UCL speaker, Professor Tony Hurford, which I’m particularly looking forward, to about volcanoes, plate tectonics, the inner core and other earthly parts. Must also mention Chris Packham (he’s not actually coming, but we will hear about his visit to WGC), Hertfordshire’s diverse plants and ‘how criminals are caught’. Hesitate to say ‘something for everyone’ but not too far off I suspect!